Mon 25 Mar 2019

Land Commission's Review of Scale and Concentration of Land Ownership - March 2019

In the Programme for Government 2017 the Scottish Government asked the Scottish Land Commission (SLC) to review the unusually concentrated pattern of land ownership in Scotland, including the potential risk of localised monopolies in some situations and its potential impact on the public interest.  As you may be aware the SLC reported to the Scottish Ministers on 20 March 2019.

The SLC has taken evidence from individuals, businesses, landowners, land managers and communities and in that call for evidence identified five themes:-

  1. Local economic opportunities
  2. Agricultural productivity
  3. Local housing needs
  4. Community and social cohesion
  5. The natural built environment.

Following its call for evidence the SLC has developed recommendations to address the underlying issues to support the Scottish Ministers' stated ambition for a fairer and more dynamic framework for the ownership and use of Scotland's land.

The findings of the SLC have been grouped into recommendations as follows:

  • Recommendations 1.1 to 1.4 propose statutory mechanisms aimed at addressing the key risks and adverse consequences of concentrated ownership, putting in place mechanisms which are currently lacking, enabling action to reduce and avoid these consequences.
  • Recommendations 2.1 and 2.2 propose further targeted policy work to develop and implement systematic change to diversify the pattern of ownership and improve the accountability of land use change.
  • Recommendations 3.1 and 3.2 propose action that can be taken now through leadership and collaboration within the land owning sector.  The SLC has said that they recognise these actions rely on voluntary collaboration but that notwithstanding the statutory provisions proposed there is significant and positive action that can be taken by landowners to address the issues and risks identified in the evidence report.

A full report on the SLC's findings can be found here

Once the Scottish Ministers have considered the recommendations proposed by the SLC  they propose to engage stakeholders and the public in the findings of the evidence and their recommendations.  If  the Scottish Ministers agree the principles of the recommendations they anticipate significant engagement to develop them further  and identify and assess the implications for landowners, managers, communities and others through stakeholder events and a programme of public meetings.

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